The comeback spirit was in the FC Tucson players Saturday night in the home league opener, but a defensive breakdown that led to a score and a deflected goal were too much to overcome.
Erik “Gallo” Virgen, who was a FC Tucson youth player years ago, scored in the 93rd minute to pull FC Tucson within a goal, but the Men In Black couldn’t find the equalizer in a 2-1 loss to Union Omaha at Kino North Stadium.
“Our response was good after going down two goals, but we are obviously disappointed with that stretch where they scored twice.,” FC Tucson coach John Galas said. “Again we didn’t start a half well, but you have to like the fighting spirit.”
After a scoreless first half, Union Omaha (2-0-1, 7 points) notched goals in the 48th and 58th minutes to take the lead. Former FC Tucson defender Luke Hauswirth netted the first goal after a defensive breakdown had the Men in Black scrambling. The second goal came when Ethan Vanacore sailed one into the net.
In the first 20 minutes of the game, the FC Tucson defense survived a handful of forays forward by Omaha, including a header that just went over the crossbar and a shot that rattled the post.
But as the half ticked along, the Men In Black grew more into the game. Shak Adams forced a save by Omaha keeper Rashid Nuhu in the 19th minute. With the FC Tucson midfield and defense intercepting the ball before Omaha could even get an attack going in their own half, the Men In Black consistently pushed forward but walked away scoreless in the first half.
For the Men In Black, it was only the second time they have lost a league home opener in nine matches.
FC Tucson (1-2-0, 3 points) will now head to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, Aug. 15. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. (Tucson time). The next home match for the Men In Black is Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. against the same Richmond Kickers